Michael Portillo


Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo FRSGS (/pɔːrˈtɪl/ por-TIL-oh; born 26 May 1953)[1] is a British journalist, broadcaster, and former Conservative Party politician. His broadcast series include railway documentaries such as Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys. A former member of the Conservative Party, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for Enfield Southgate from 1984 to 1997 and Kensington and Chelsea from 1999 to 2005.

Michael Portillo
Portillo in 2017
Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo

(1953-05-26) 26 May 1953 (age 71)
Bushey, Hertfordshire, England
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
EducationPeterhouse, Cambridge (BA)
  • Broadcaster (1998–present)
  • Politician (1984–2005)
TelevisionGreat British Railway Journeys and other documentaries
Political partyFormerly Conservative
Carolyn Claire Eadie
(m. 1982)
Ministerial offices
Secretary of State for Defence
In office
5 July 1995 – 2 May 1997
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byMalcolm Rifkind
Succeeded byGeorge Robertson
Secretary of State for Employment
In office
20 July 1994 – 5 July 1995
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byDavid Hunt
Succeeded byGillian Shephard
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
11 April 1992 – 20 July 1994
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byDavid Mellor
Succeeded byJonathan Aitken
Further offices held
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
1 February 2000 – 18 September 2001
LeaderWilliam Hague
Preceded byFrancis Maude
Succeeded byMichael Howard
Member of Parliament
for Kensington and Chelsea
In office
26 November 1999 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byAlan Clark
Succeeded byMalcolm Rifkind
Member of Parliament
for Enfield Southgate
In office
13 December 1984 – 8 April 1997
Preceded byAnthony Berry
Succeeded byStephen Twigg

Portillo obtained a first-class degree in history from the University of Cambridge, having been a student at Peterhouse. He began his working life as a graduate trainee with the transport company Ocean Group plc, before joining the Conservative Research Department in 1976.[2] First elected to the House of Commons in a 1984 by-election, Portillo served as a junior minister under both Margaret Thatcher and John Major, before entering the Cabinet in 1992 as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He was promoted to Secretary of State for Employment in 1994. A Thatcherite and a Eurosceptic, he was seen as a likely challenger to Major during the 1995 Conservative leadership election, but did not stand, and was subsequently promoted to Secretary of State for Defence. As Defence Secretary, he pressed for a course of "clear blue water": purist policies separating the Conservatives from the Labour Party.

Portillo unexpectedly lost the theretofore safe Conservative Enfield Southgate seat at the 1997 general election. This led to the coining of the expression "Portillo moment". Returning to the Commons in the 1999 by-election in Kensington and Chelsea, Portillo rejoined the frontbench as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Standing for the leadership of the party in 2001, he came in third place behind Iain Duncan Smith and Kenneth Clarke. He retired from the House of Commons and from active politics at the 2005 general election.

Since leaving politics, Portillo has pursued his media interests by presenting and participating in a wide range of television and radio programmes. Portillo's passion for steam trains led him to make the BBC documentary series Great British Railway Journeys, beginning in 2010, in which he travels the British railway networks, referring to various editions of Bradshaw's Guide. The success of the show led Portillo to present series about railway systems in other countries. In 2022 he began to present a political show Portillo for the British news channel GB News.

Early life


Portillo was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, on 26 May 1953 to an exiled Spanish republican father, Luis Gabriel Portillo (1907–1993)[3] and a Scottish mother, Cora Waldegrave de Portillo (née Blyth; 1919–2014).[4] Portillo's father, a devout Catholic, was a member of left-wing movements in the 1930s and fled Madrid when it fell to General Franco in 1939, settling in England.[5] He became head of the London Diplomatic Office of the Government in Exile in 1972.[6] Portillo's maternal grandfather, John Waldegrave Blyth (1873–1962), was a prosperous linen manufacturer from Kirkcaldy, who left an art collection worth millions to the Kirkcaldy Galleries.[7][8][9][10]

Portillo was registered as a Spanish citizen at the age of four, and in accordance with Spanish naming customs (which require a person to have two surnames) his Spanish passport names him as Miguel Portillo Blyth.[11] Portillo's now well-known "love affair with trains" started when he was a youth. He owned a clockwork train set, and envied friends who had electric ones. Additionally, his mother took him on 13-hour trips from London to Kirkcaldy aboard a steam-hauled night train, the Starlight Special, to visit his British grandparents, and he had summer holidays on the Isle of Wight, where he "loved" the steam railway between Ryde and Ventnor.[12]

In 1961, aged 8, Portillo appeared in a television advertisement for Ribena, a blackcurrant cordial drink.[13] He was educated at Stanburn Primary School in Stanmore, Greater London, and Harrow County School for Boys[14] and was awarded a scholarship to Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he studied history.[15] While at school Portillo had supported the cause of the Labour Party;[16] he attributed his embrace of conservatism at Cambridge to the influence of the right-wing Peterhouse historian Maurice Cowling.[17] In 1982, Portillo married Carolyn Claire Eadie.[1]

Political career (1984–2005)


Portillo graduated in 1975 with a first-class degree in history,[18] and, after a brief stint with Ocean Transport and Trading Ltd., a shipping and transport company, he joined the Conservative Research Department in 1976.[19] Following the Conservative victory in 1979, he became a government adviser to David Howell at the Department of Energy.[20] He left to work for Kerr-McGee Oil between 1981 and 1983.[21] In the 1983 general election, he fought his first electoral contest, in the Labour-held seat of Birmingham Perry Barr, losing to the incumbent Jeff Rooker.[22]



Portillo returned to advisory work for the government, and, in December 1984, he stood for and won the Enfield Southgate by-election, following the death of the incumbent, Sir Anthony Berry, in the bombing of the Grand Hotel, Brighton by the IRA.[23] Initially, he was a Parliamentary Private Secretary to John Moore,[24] and then an assistant whip.[25]

In government


In 1987, Portillo was given his first ministerial post, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security; the following year, he was promoted to Minister of State for Transport.[26] Portillo has stated that he considers "saving the Settle to Carlisle railway" to be his greatest achievement.[27][28] He was a strong supporter of Margaret Thatcher.[29]

In 1990, Portillo was appointed Minister of State for Local Government, in which post he argued in favour of the ultimately highly unpopular Community Charge system (popularly known as "the Poll Tax").[30] He demonstrated a consistently right-of-centre line (exemplified by his insistence, in a well-publicised speech, on placing "clear blue water" between the policies of the Conservatives and other parties[31]) and was favoured by Norman Tebbit and Margaret Thatcher, who said of him "[W]e expect great things of you, do not disappoint us".[32] His rise continued under John Major; he was made a Cabinet Minister in 1992 as Chief Secretary to the Treasury[33] and was admitted to the Privy Council the same year.[34] He subsequently became Secretary of State for Employment (1994–95),[35] and then Secretary of State for Defence (1995–1997).[36]

Portillo (centre) with Admiral Peter Abbott and US Defence Secretary William J. Perry aboard HMS Illustrious in 1996

As Defence Secretary, Portillo became the object of criticism when he invoked the motto of the SAS, "Who Dares, Wins", at a speech at the 1995 Conservative Party annual conference.[37] In 1996 his ministry undertook the sale of the entire stock of Ministry of Defence (MoD) housing for military personnel to Annington Homes.[38] [n 1] His high profile led to constant attention from the media, including Private Eye, which mockingly referred to him as "Portaloo". He was accused of vanity when Alexandra Palace was hired to celebrate his ten years in politics.[40]

Some saw the Defence Secretary post as a reward for Portillo's cautious loyalty to Major during the 1995 leadership challenge of John Redwood, following Major's "back me or sack me" resignation as party leader. Many urged Portillo, the "darling of the right", to run against Major. He declined to enter the first round, but planned to challenge Major if the contest went to a second round.[41] To this end, he set up a potential campaign headquarters, with banks of telephone lines. He later admitted that this had been an error: "I did not want to oppose [Major], but neither did I want to close the possibility of entering a second ballot if it came to that." Portillo acknowledged that "ambiguity is unattractive"[42] and his opponents within the party later used Portillo's apparent equivocation as an example of his indecisiveness; "I appeared happy to wound but afraid to strike: a dishonourable position."[41]

1997 election defeat


Portillo's loss of the Enfield Southgate seat, in the 1997 general election to Labour's Stephen Twigg, came as a shock to many politicians and commentators, and came to symbolise the extent of the Labour landslide victory.[43] Halfway through the campaign, Portillo invited aides Andrew Cooper and Michael Simmonds to his house and presented them with some ideas for a leadership campaign following the expected Conservative defeat and asked them to finish it off.[41] However, when a poll in The Observer on the weekend before the election showed that Portillo held only a three-point lead in his hitherto-safe seat,[43] Portillo asked Cooper, who oversaw the party's internal polling, to reassure him that it was wrong; Cooper was unable to and Portillo began to think that he might lose.[44]

He was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on election night, prior to the result being called in his own seat. Paxman opened the interview with the question "so Michael, are you going to miss the limo?"—a reference to the expectation that the Conservatives were headed for defeat and thus he would no longer be a Minister. Portillo was then asked "are we seeing the end of the Conservative Party as a credible force in British politics?". He has since revealed that, prior to the interview, he had already come to believe he had lost his seat:[43]

I saw that the exit poll was predicting a 160 seat majority for Labour. I thought, "when is Paxman going to ask me have I lost my seat?", because I deduced from that that I had. I then drove the car to my constituency and I knew I'd lost. But I also saw David Mellor. David Mellor had this really bad tempered spat with Jimmy Goldsmith [after the Putney election results had been announced]. I saw this and I thought if there's one thing I do when I lose, I'm going to lose with as much dignity as I can muster and not be like this David Mellor—Goldsmith thing.[45]

Portillo's defeat represented a 17.4% swing to Labour. Symbolising the loss of the election by the Conservative Party, it has been referred to as "the Portillo moment", and in the cliché "Were you up for Portillo?" (i.e., "Were you awake/did you see Portillo's result announced on television?")[43] In 2010, Portillo wrote: "I had hoped for something better than Were You Still Up for Portillo? Now I feel lucky to have been ejected. I discovered that there is life and livelihood outside Westminster."[46]

Return to Parliament

Portillo (left) being interviewed by Nick Robinson in 2001

Following the election, Portillo renewed his attachment to Kerr-McGee, but also undertook substantial media work, including programmes for the BBC and Channel 4. In an interview with The Times given in 1999, Portillo said that "I had some homosexual experiences as a young person."[47][48] A few weeks after he had given that interview, the death of Alan Clark gave Portillo the opportunity to return to Parliament, despite Lord Tebbit accusing Portillo of lying about the extent of his sexual "deviance",[49] and similar comments from an associate included in a profile of Portillo in The Guardian newspaper.[50] He comfortably won the by-election in late November 1999 to represent Kensington and Chelsea, traditionally one of the safest Conservative seats.

On 1 February 2000, William Hague promoted Portillo to the Shadow cabinet as Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor. On 3 February, Portillo stood opposite the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, in the House of Commons for the first time in his new role. During this session, Portillo declared that a future Conservative government would enhance the independence of the Bank of England and increase its accountability to Parliament, and that it would not repeal the national minimum wage.[51]

2001 leadership election


Following the 2001 general election, Portillo contested the leadership of the party. In the first ballot of Conservative MPs, he led well. However, there followed press stories, including references to his previous homosexual experiences and to his equivocation at the time of Major's 1995 resignation. He was knocked out in the final round of voting by Conservative MPs, his sexual history – according to Kenneth Clarke – having damaged his chances,[52] leaving party members to choose between Iain Duncan Smith and Kenneth Clarke.

Retirement from politics


When Duncan Smith was elected leader, Portillo returned to the backbenches. In March 2003, he voted in favour of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In November 2003, he turned down an offer of a Shadow Cabinet post from the incoming Conservative leader Michael Howard.[53] He did not seek re-election in the 2005 general election. His membership of the Conservative Party has since lapsed.[54]

In 2007 he was named by PinkNews as one of the most powerful LGBT+ figures in British politics.[55]

Talking to Andrew Neil on This Week in May 2016, he gave his views on the effectiveness of David Cameron's government and its legislative plans as described in the Queen's speech: "After 23 years of careful thought about what they would like to do in power ... the answer is nothing", a description which The Guardian described as "elegant".[56]

Portillo supported Brexit,[57] though he also expressed the opinion that the 2016 Brexit referendum "absolutely does not fit with" the British system of parliamentary sovereignty, and that "parliament has the right to interpret" the result.[58] In a 2016 television discussion he said that "because of the catastrophic blunder committed by David Cameron, [Nigel] Farage deserves a place in history" because "he spooked the Prime Minister into holding a referendum that he then lost."[59] He also condemned Theresa May's 2018 "Chequers plan" for exit negotiations as "the most dreadful betrayal, and if I had been a member of the Cabinet, I would have been one of the ones who would have quit over the weekend."[60]

Business interests


In September 2002, Portillo became a non-executive director of the multinational defence contractor BAE Systems. He stepped down from that position in March 2006, owing to potential conflicts of interest.[61] He was a member of the board of the Kerr-McGee Corporation for a few months in 2006.[62]

Broadcasting career (1998–present)



Filming at Taunton railway station, in trademark exotic colours, 2017

1998 saw Portillo make his first foray into broadcasting on Channel 4 with Portillo's Progress—three 60-minute-long programmes looking into the changed social and political scene in Britain.[63] From 2002 onwards, Portillo developed an active career in media, both as a commentator on public affairs and as a writer and/or presenter of television and radio documentaries. Between its inception in 2003 and cancellation in 2019, Portillo appeared in the BBC weekly political discussion programme This Week with Andrew Neil, and, until September 2010, Labour MP Diane Abbott.[64][65][n 2]

Portillo has featured in a number of television documentaries. including one in Spain: Great Railway Journeys: From Granada to Salamanca, for BBC Two (1999) [69] and one about Richard Wagner. In 2006 he made a programme on Spanish wildlife for BBC Two's The Natural World series. For an episode of the 2003 BBC Two series My Week In The Real World, in which politicians stepped into the shoes of members of the public, Portillo took over, for one week, the life, family and income of a single mother living on benefits in Wallasey.[70][71]

He chose to present Queen Elizabeth I for the BBC's series of Great Britons in 2002.[72] In 2005 he presented the lavish BBC documentary re-telling of the story of Lord Nelson, Nelson's Trafalgar (2005). Between 2002 and 2007, he presented a discussion series called Dinner with Portillo on BBC Four, in which political and social questions were explored by Portillo and his seven guests over a four-course meal. His guests included Bianca Jagger, Grayson Perry, Francis Wheen, Seymour Hersh, PD James, Baroness Williams, George Galloway, Benazir Bhutto and Germaine Greer. In 2007, he participated in the BBC television project The Verdict, serving, with other well known figures, as a jury member hearing a fictional rape case. He was elected as the jury's foreman.[73]

The documentary How To Kill a Human Being in the Horizon series featured Portillo carrying out a survey of capital punishment methods (including undertaking some near death experiences himself), in an attempt to find an 'acceptable' form of capital punishment. It was broadcast on BBC Two on 15 January 2008.[74] He made a second Horizon documentary, titled How Violent Are You?, broadcast on 12 May 2009.[75] In 2008, Portillo made a documentary as part of the BBC Headroom campaign, which explored mental health issues. Portillo's documentary Michael Portillo: Death of a School Friend explores how the suicide of Portillo's classmate Gary Findon affected Findon's parents, brother, music teachers, schoolteachers, classmates, and Portillo himself. The programme was originally broadcast on 7 November 2008.[76]

In 2009, he filmed a series titled Great British Railway Journeys, in which he explored, with the aid of George Bradshaw's 1863 tourist handbook, how the railways had a profound influence on the social, economic and political history of Britain. The series commenced broadcasting in January 2010.[77] A second series was broadcast on BBC Two in 2011, and as of May 2021, there have been a total of thirteen series. Portillo also presented a similar television series called Great Continental Railway Journeys, following Portillo around continental Europe.[78] A second series was broadcast in 2013, and to date there has been a total of six series. In 2014, as part of the BBC's World War I commemorations, Portillo presented Railways of the Great War with Michael Portillo over five nights in August 2014.[79]

In early 2016, Portillo began a new BBC travel documentary series Great American Railroad Journeys, which saw him travelling across the United States by rail.[80] Other similar series followed: Great Indian Railway Journeys from 2018 and Great Alaskan and Canadian Railroad Journeys, which started airing in January 2019.[81] A series Great Australian Railway Journeys began airing on BBC2 on 26 October 2019, with six journeys across Australia.[82] This was followed by a series Great Asian Railway Journeys from 27 January 2020,[83] and Great Coastal Railway Journeys (BBC2, January–February 2022).[84]

In 2020, as part of his Great Continental Railway Journeys, in the "Salamanca to Canfranc", while in Salamanca, Portillo was given access to papers about his father held at the General Archive of the Spanish Civil War.[85] Other television programmes presented by Portillo have included:

  • Portillo's State Secrets, (BBC 2, ten parts, from 23 March 2015) in which Portillo examined classified documents from the British National Archives.[86]
  • The Enemy Files, (RTÉ One in Ireland, and BBC Northern Ireland, 2016), ahead of the centenary of the Easter Rising.[87]
  • Portillo's Hidden History of Britain (Channel 5 series, 2018).[88]
  • Portillo: The Trouble With The Tories (Channel 5, 2-part series, August 2019), which examined the history of the Tory party's divisions.[89]
  • Portillo's Empire Journey (Channel 5, 4-part series, from 15 May 2020), Portillo tells the story of the creation of the British Empire.[90]
  • Hawks & Doves: The Crown and Ireland's War of Independence (RTÉ, 2020), which gave an account of the Irish War of Independence from a British perspective.[91]
  • Spanish Civil War with Michael Portillo (Discovery History, 2020).[92]
  • Coastal Devon & Cornwall with Michael Portillo (Channel 5, six-part series, August – September 2021).[93]

On 26 May 2022, Channel 5 commissioned The Pyrenees with Michael Portillo, a four-part series that premiered 23 August 2022.[94][95] In early 2022, Portillo filled a guest spot on the GB News show, The Political Correction, after which he was invited to host his own weekend political show Portillo, which started airing on 2 October 2022.[96] During the winter of 2023, Portillo's Andalucia, a six-part travelogue series aired on Channel 5.[97]

Press and radio


Portillo has written a regular column for The Sunday Times, contributes to other journals (he was a theatre critic for the New Statesman until May 2006),[98] and is a regular radio broadcaster on UK radio. He is a long-serving member of the panel in the BBC Radio 4 series The Moral Maze. In September 2011, he presented a two-part series on BBC Radio 4 called Capitalism on Trial.[99] He has also presented a history series on BBC Radio 4 called The Things We Forgot to Remember.[100]

In June 2013, he presented a series of twelve 15-minute radio programmes (following the daily World at One news programme) on BBC Radio 4 called 1913 – the Year Before, about the state of Britain in the years preceding World War I, challenging the view that these years were optimistic and cheerful.[101] On 7 May 2020, it was announced that Portillo would join the new digital station Times Radio, which launched in June 2020.[102] He hosted a Friday evening programme on politics, culture and history.

Voluntary work


Since 1998, Portillo has been a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).[103] He is President of DEBRA, a British charity working on behalf of people with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a genetic skin blistering condition.[62] Portillo served as chairman of the 2008 Man Booker Prize committee.[104]

In 2011, Portillo became chairman of a new arts endowment fund supported by the Arts Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Applicants could bid for grants of between £500,000 and £5m, which were to be matched from the private sector.[105] The fund, which operated under the title "Catalyst: Endowments", made 31 awards over the two years 2012–13 totalling £36 million. Recipients included Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Mary Rose Trust, Lincoln Cathedral and the Severn Valley Railway.[106]

Portillo is the British chairman of the Anglo-Spanish organisation Tertulias, which organises annual meetings between the two countries.[62] He is also an Honorary Vice-President of Canning House, the Hispanic and Luso Brazilian Council.[107] He has a home in Carmona in Andalusia.[108] Portillo has a strong interest in contemporary visual arts and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Federation of British Artists, an educational arts charity.[109] In 2018, he accepted the role as President of the Friends of the Settle–Carlisle line[110] following the death of previous incumbent, Sir William McAlpine.[111]




  • Portillo, Michael (2015), Great Continental Railway Journeys, Simon and Schuster, ISBN 9781471151491
  • Portillo, Michael (2017), Great American Railroad Journeys, Simon & Schuster UK, ISBN 9781471151514
  • Portillo, Michael (2018), Portillo's Hidden History of Britain, Michael O'Mara, ISBN 9781789290646
  • Portillo, Michael (2020), Greatest British Railway Journeys, Headline Publishing, ISBN 9781472279279

See also





  1. ^ In 2022 the MoD announced plans to reverse this and return the properties to public ownership.[39]
  2. ^ Portillo has known Abbott for many years: they both attended schools in the London Borough of Harrow, and both were in a joint school production of Romeo and Juliet, though not in the title roles. Later, while still at school, Portillo cast Abbott in a film version of Macbeth, but the film was never completed. She played Lady Macduff to his Macduff.[66] These details of their schooldays were originally added to this article by Clive Anderson on 2 July 2007, as an example of the workings of Wikipedia, during the making of The Wikipedia Story (BBC Radio 4), first broadcast on 24 July 2007.[67] Anderson was at school with Abbott and Portillo;[68] the issue of 'original research' (i.e. that Anderson had contributed these details from his own knowledge, not from a secondary source), was not addressed in the programme itself.


  1. ^ a b "Portillo, Rt Hon. Michael (Denzil Xavier), (born 26 May 1953), PC 1992; broadcaster and journalist". Who's Who. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.31200.
  2. ^ "The Interview: Michael Portillo". Logistics and Transport Focus. Vol. 9, no. 8. 2017. pp. 21–23. ISSN 1466-836X.
  3. ^ Portillo, Michael (18 October 2001). "Blood of Spain". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  4. ^ Anon (10 April 2014). "Obituary: Cora Blyth de Portillo, linguist". The Scotsman. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  5. ^ Gove (1995), pp. 10–11.
  6. ^ Gove (1995), p. 20.
  7. ^ Portillo, Michael (30 January 2021). "As a child, a trip over the Forth to Kirkcaldy was one of the great excitements of life". The Telegraph.
  8. ^ Illustrious Fife: Literary, Historical, and Architectural Pathways and Walks, Duncan Glen, Akros, 1998, p. 103
  9. ^ Michael Portillo: The Future of the Right, Michael Gove, 1995, p. 12
  10. ^ "Fond farewell to Michael Portillo's vivacious mother". London Evening Standard. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  11. ^ BBCGreat Continental Railway Journeys, Season 2 Episode 6. Portillo mentions this whilst holding up both his British and his Spanish passports to the camera.
  12. ^ McGrath, Nick (29 May 2023). "Michael Portillo: My love affair with trains started young". The Times. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  13. ^ Graff, Vincent (25 May 2008). "'No bread, no butter, no potatoes. No pasta, no pudding, no cheese or cream. I'm just eating protein basically. But I do love food'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  14. ^ Maynard, Jeff. "Old Gaytonians in Politics". Virtual Gaytonian. Archived from the original on 8 May 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
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  17. ^ "Maurice Cowling". telegraph.co.uk. 26 August 2005. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  18. ^ Gove (1995), p. 60.
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  21. ^ Gove (1995), pp. 90–1.
  22. ^ Gove (1995), pp. 110–111.
  23. ^ Gove (1995), pp. 117–129.
  24. ^ Gove (1995), p. 148.
  25. ^ Gove (1995), p. 149.
  26. ^ Gove (1995), p. 160.
  27. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (2 February 2008). "Q&A: Michael Portillo, 54, journalist and television presenter". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  28. ^ "In praise of… the Settle to Carlisle line". The Guardian. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  29. ^ Portillo, Michael (14 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher: her courage, her vision, her legacy". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  30. ^ Gove (1995), pp. 171–176.
  31. ^ Gove (1995), p. 286.
  32. ^ Gove (1995), p. 264.
  33. ^ Gove (1995), p. 219.
  34. ^ "Privy Counsellors" Archived 24 July 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Privy Council website, accessed 18 October 2017.
  35. ^ Gove (1995), p. 302.
  36. ^ "1995 - Mr. Major's Sixth Cabinet" in The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH website, accessed 18 October 2017.
  37. ^ Katwala, Sunder (22 July 2001). "The rise and fall of Michael Portillo". The Observer. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  38. ^ Watt, Holly (25 April 2017). "How the MoD's plan to privatise military housing ended in disaster". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  39. ^ Kollewe, Julia (27 January 2022). "MoD seeks to buy back 38,000 homes leased from firm run by billionaire". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  40. ^ Grant, Linda (14 August 1994). "Vanity: the deadliest sin: Linda Grant discovers blowing one's own trumpet is beyond the pale in modest, self-deprecating Britain". The Independent. Archived from the original on 14 May 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  41. ^ a b c Snowdon 2010, p. 2.
  42. ^ Portillo, Michael (15 April 2007). "Believe me, Mr Miliband, No 10 is within your grasp". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
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  44. ^ Snowdon 2010, p. 2–3.
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  46. ^ Portillo, Michael (6 May 2010). "My moment is yours, Ed Balls". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
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  53. ^ "Howard mulls first shadow cabinet". BBC News. 9 November 2003. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  54. ^ Michael Portillo, quoted in Election Uncovered: What They Won't Tell Us, Channel 4, 2 May 2010.
  55. ^ https://www.thepinknews.com/2007/12/27/the-50-most-powerful-lgbt-people-in-british-politics/
  56. ^ Harris, John (2 June 2016). "We're now witnessing the tragic decline of David Cameron". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  57. ^ Watt, Nicholas (8 May 2013). "Michael Portillo adds voice to calls for EU exit". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  58. ^ Extract from This Week broadcast 8 March 2019
  59. ^ Engineer, Cyrus (8 July 2016). "Nigel Farage 'deserves a place in history' for his role in Brexit". Daily Express. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  60. ^ Bossotti, Aurora (14 July 2018). "'Either a colony or a member!' Michael Portillo CONDEMNS May's Chequers Brexit deal". Daily Express. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  61. ^ Costello, Miles (27 March 2006). "Portillo quits BAE over conflicts". The Times. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
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  63. ^ "BFI database". Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
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  65. ^ Rogers, Jude (20 October 2004). "Why I love Abbott and Portillo". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  66. ^ Burrell, Ian (20 November 2006). "The transformation of Michael Portillo: Less power - but a lot more fun". The Independent. Archived from the original on 14 May 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  67. ^ "The Wikipedia Story", BBC Radio 4 website, accessed 19 October 2017.
  68. ^ Spencer, Clare (6 May 2011). "Why do some schools produce clusters of celebrities?". BBC News. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  69. ^ "BBC Two - Great Railway Journeys, Series 4, Granada to Salamanca".
  70. ^ "Portillo learns perils of childcare". BBC News. 30 July 2003. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  71. ^ "Your views: Portillo as a single mum". BBC News. 16 October 2003. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  72. ^ "BBC TWO reveals the ten greatest Britons of all time", 19 October 2002, accessed 20 October 2017.
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  • Gove, Michael (1995). Michael Portillo: The Future of the Right. London: 4th Estate. ISBN 1-85702-335-8.
  • Snowdon, Peter (2010). Back from the Brink: The Extraordinary Fall and Rise of the Conservative Party. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-730884-2.
  • Official website
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Michael Portillo
  • Portillo's columns for The Sunday Times
  • The Guardian - Ask Aristotle about Michael Portillo
  • They Work For You – Michael Portillo
  • The Public Whip – Michael Portillo voting record
  • Harrow County Grammar School
  • Michael Portillo at IMDb
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Kensington and Chelsea
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State for Employment
Succeeded by
Gillian Shephard
as Secretary of State for Education and Employment
Preceded by Secretary of State for Defence
Succeeded by
Preceded by Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by